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From a Professional Marine Corps. Marksman!

If you remember nothing else, memorize these four most important:


For an expanded version beyond the basic 4 in the above video, read the 10 most important rules below:

Treat every gun as if it is loaded.

This is the cardinal rule of gun safety. Remember that gun you unloaded last night and put in the safe? The next time you get it out, consider it loaded. If you treat every gun as if it were loaded then you will never find yourself explaining how you shot yourself in the foot while handling that “unloaded” gun.

Never point the gun at anything you aren't prepared to shoot.
A gun is not a toy -- it's a tool. It is a very powerful tool that, if mishandled, can be very unforgiving. A gun isn't meant to intimidate or make you look cool. It's a tool used to destroy whatever its projectile hits. You wouldn't use a hammer to screw in a screw and you wouldn't use a screwdriver as a hammer. While it may seem harmless to point an unloaded gun at something or someone, refer back to the first rule -- all guns are loaded.

Don't EVER put your finger on the trigger until you are going to fire.
Let's say you're out hunting. You're stalking that perfect buck and you want to be ready to shoot as soon as he appears. So you have your gun up, muzzle pointed down at a 45-degree angle, with your finger on the trigger. All of a sudden you step into a hole you didn't see, the muzzle drops, your finger twitches … and you'll have to explain how you shot yourself in the foot again.

Know what you are shooting at and what's behind it.
This is really a two-fold rule. Never shoot at something unless you are sure it is what you intend to shoot. Then consider what is behind it and where your bullet will go if you miss your target. A .22, for example, can potentially be lethal as far away as a mile or even a mile and a half. A very powerful bullet can over-penetrate, going through your target and continue on with lots of power still left in it.

Protect your eyes and ears.
Anytime you fire your weapon, whether it is on the range or in the woods, be sure to protect your eyes and ears. Safety glasses will keep your eyes safe from flying debris, gunpowder residue, spent cases, and other stray objects. Likewise, earplugs and ear protection headsets will prevent noise-related hearing damage.

Teach gun safety to everyone in your home.
Gun safety in your home must be taught to the entire family. Guns are not to be touched without supervision. Instruct them to immediately walk away and tell an adult if they see a gun. If you follow proper gun safety this shouldn't be an issue, but you can't be too safe, particularly when it comes to guns and children. Similarly, any adults in your home who are unfamiliar with guns should not handle one without your assistance.

Store ammunition separately from the guns.
Storing guns and ammo separately ensures no one has access to a loaded gun who shouldn't. Even if a curious child were to gain access to the gun, he wouldn't be able to hurt himself or anyone else. Similarly, an intruder would be unable to use your own weapon against you if he didn't have access to the ammunition.

Use a gun safe for long-term storage.
A gun safe is, by far, the safest place to store a weapon. A good gun safe can protect your guns from fire, burglary, and accidental misuse by a child or even an uninformed adult. These safes come in a wide variety of styles and price ranges.

Store home protection weapons securely.
Many gun owners like to have a loaded weapon close at hand to protect themselves and their families. Unfortunately, people tend to store such weapons in a bedroom drawer or similar location. Instead, purchase a smaller safe meant for such purposes. You can buy safes with biometric locks that open quickly in the dark and can be mounted under the bed or simply placed in a drawer. For shotguns, a breech lock allows you to keep the gun loaded but prevents it from being fired until you unlock it.

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